Best Beer with Pizza: Pairing Guide


Beer. Pizza. Two of life’s simple pleasures. Beer is truly a communal beverage that unites friends and strangers alike. Pizza is so widely enjoyed that we have been hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t put it on their “last meal wish list.” And as if these beauties aren’t good enough on their own, paired together they create a taste explosion that is otherworldly.

Beer and pizza go hand-in-hand and are enjoyed together quite often, but have you ever wondered how to pair the best beer with pizza, based on styles? What’s the best beer with deep dish pizza? Thin crust? How about throwing anchovies into the mix?! We’ve teamed up with our friends at Home Run Inn Pizza to create the ultimate beer and pizza pairing guide. We’ve got you covered on an array of varieties below, hoping this helps you achieve nirvana the next time you pick up a slice. Our team of experts also suggest specific beers below to get you started. Cheers!

Best Beer with Pizza

CLASSIC CHEESE: This stripped down American version of pizza deserves a beer that is a classic in the craft beer world.  Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has a pungent but restrained hop profile and just enough bitterness to cut through some of the richness of the cheese.

ORIGINAL MARGHERITA: A nice unfiltered lager like Urban Chestnut’s Zwickel.  This beer has a nice bready flavor that complements the charred crust of a Margherita and allows the sweet sauce and rich cheese to shine.

CLASSIC PEPPERONI: The slightly spicy notes of the pepperoni go really well with a malty beer like Ale Asylum’s Madtown Nut Brown and its light caramel sweetness.

VEGETARIAN: A nice summer kolsch that plays second fiddle to the delicate veggies.  Around the Bend’s Ghost of ‘Lectricity, which is a very delicate kolsch that won’t overpower the veggies.

MUSHROOM: An English Ale like Old Speckled Hen which has a subtle earthy hop profile and a bit of sweetness to brighten up the pizza.

SEAFOOD: Off Color’s Fierce, a Berliner Weiss known for its super tart acidity with heavy lemon character.

ANCHOVY: Time for a beer to refresh your palate after each intensely flavored bite of anchovy.  Temperance Brewing’s Restless Years is a citrusy pale ale brewed with a proportion of rye that adds a spiciness that along with the hop bitterness readies you for another bite.

HAWAIIAN: Kona Brewing Co.’s Big Wave Golden Ale is light bodied with great citrus hop aroma to accentuate the Canadian bacon and pineapple.

MEAT LOVERS: So much meat, so little time…reach for a dark smoked beer in this situation to give the various toppings a more authentic smoky backbone. Schlenkerla Marzen has an aroma of bacon and char and finishes with a roasty sweetness that is perfect.

EVERYTHING: Saison Du BUFF is a beer that has a little bit of everything.  This saison is brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme and has a spicy dry yeast that really cuts through fattiness.

SAUSAGE & PEPPERS: A refreshing lager like Metropolitan’s Dynamo Copper Lager that brings just enough caramel notes to pair with the sausage and is clean enough to let the veggies do their thing.

OLIVES: Saison Dupont is both earthy and soft while maintaining a spiciness from the yeast that won’t clash with the olives, while still elevating their monotone flavor profile.

ITALIAN MEATBALL: Time for an IPA! Sixpoint’s Resin is big and hoppy without being too fruity, and the intense piney notes can get you ready for another slice.

BACON CHEESEBURGER: The richness here can handle the spiciness of Ballast Point’s Thai Chile Wahoo Wheat.  This light refreshing wheat beer with a bit of citrus packs a spicy kick, thanks to bird’s eye chiles.

PHILLY CHEESESTEAK: Yeungling Lager, a.k.a. the oldest family owned brewery in America and a favorite in the Philly area. This clean, lightly bitter lager with just a touch of sweetness pairs well with the caramelized onions and beef.

BBQ CHICKEN: Metropolitan Brewing’s Dynamo Copper Lager offers toasty Vienna malts and mild hop notes that blend well with the spiciness of the BBQ sauce.

VEGETARIAN PESTO: Off Color Brewing’s Scurry Dark Honey Ale has a surprisingly dry finish with hints of honey and molasses to meld with the earthy rich flavor of the pesto and vegetables.

FIVE CHEESE: A witbier like Allagash White pairs well due to its crisp, full flavor with subtle citrus notes and light spicy finish.

BACON, TOMATO & RANCH: Ska Brewing Co.’s True Blonde Ale is a golden blonde ale brewed with a hint of local honey with bready malts and citrus hop flavors.

CHICAGO SUPREME: An American strong ale like Arrogant Bastard from Stone Brewing is a good fit here.  Pairing a bold, hoppy beer with all the malt body to match would do well with the variety of flavors found in the Supreme.  The hops will elevate the pepperonis and green peppers and the malts will hold up to the sauce and cheese.

PESTO CHICKEN: Bieres De Chimay’s Trappist Dubbel has a dark coppery color and rich apricot aromatics that cut through the rich flavors and dry finish of the pesto.

BUFFALO CHICKEN: Bell’s Brewing’s Two Hearted IPA has a grapefruit and piney hop bitterness with a mild fruit flavor that blends well with both the buffalo sauce and blue cheese.

THAI CHICKEN: A clean and crisp pilsner like Mama’s Little Yella Pils from Oskar Blues Brewery pairs well with the Thai flavors due to the addition of Saaz hops, offering a spicy, floral hop finish.

WHITE: Timmermans Brewery’s Bourgogne des Flandres Brune – barrel aging provides this Flemish Brune with an acidity to cut through the cheese and finish with a mild sweetness.

GREEK: Blood Orange Gose from Anderson Valley Brewing is a tart, refreshing wheat ale brewed with sea salt and coriander.  The addition of blood oranges adds a delicious dry citrus finish.

SPINACH & FETA: 3 Floyds Brewing’s Robert the Bruce Scotch Ale pairs well with this pizza due to the well-balanced malty profile and roasted biscuit notes.

APIZZA: A hoppy amber like Boont Amber Ale from Anderson Valley pairs well as the hop profile elevates the spice from the pepperoni and the malt base stands up to the sauce and charred crust.

CHICKEN ALFREDO: The Troublesome Farmhouse Ale by Off Color Brewing has a juicy fruit nose with dry hopping to create a dry finish.  It has an incredibly effervescent body to keep your palate clean.

SAUSAGE, PEPPER & ONION DEEP DISH: A Belgian strong ale like Duvel with its high carbonation and zesty yeast can handle all the complex flavors of the pizza.

CLASSIC NEW HAVEN: A lighter Witbier like Blanche de Bruxelles by Brasserie Lefebvre offers notes of orange peel and coriander that would complement the cheeses and not overwhelm the dish.

Special thanks to Max Cavanaugh (Howells & Hood), Phil Miley (Sweetwater), and Aaron Gordon (Old Town Pour House) for their expertise on the best beer with pizza!

Interested in other beer and food pairings? Check out our beer and potato chip edition, or our beer and dessert guide. Enjoy!

 

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Bottleneck Management is a restaurant group based in Chicago.

The Bottleneck Blog shares news and trends on the hospitality industry, craft beer, food, company culture, and restaurant management.

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